What is striking me these days is the exponential explosion of spiritual awakening that I see happening especially on internet connections.
The Shift Network’s is a great example of rapid expansion and powerful impact on many. Started by Stephen Dinan only a few years ago, the network became both a Movement as well as a flourishing business. This may be shocking to some who think mixing spirituality with money is wrong. But doing good through Business by helping people to have a good life is also a new trend. And this group delivers with top-notch presenters and good programs.
The community site of the Shift Movement grows weekly. There are about 10,000 members and 200 groups where people share ideas on specific topics. Some examples are the “Spring of Sustainability”, “Peace Ambassador Training”, “Emotional Fluency” and “Visionary Entrepreneur Training”.
I personally spent about a year listening to free seminars and recordings on this site. A few months ago I joined a full course program, “The Ten Agreements” with Elizabeth Debold and Mary Adams. This is an impressive program with high quality presenters and participants. I have learned much and find everything enhancing my life.
Through this course, I automatically became part of the larger community. The enthusiasm, caring and attention people give to each other is quite different from the typical Facebook exchanges. Members are clearly nourished by being in a community of like-minded people, with the opportunity to “chat” live and exchange ideas with others from around the world.
Another visible sign of “spring” is to see usually quiet spiritual masters speaking out about the state of the world. From the UK Guardian this article, “Zen and the art of protecting the planet” , where the well known Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hahn, warns about the threat to civilization from climate change and says a spiritual revival is needed to avert catastrophe. Surprising to see that in main-stream media.
Spiritual teachings can quickly go viral today when they make a real impact on people’s lives. An example of this is Craig Hamilton. People following his program have been so impressed with the results that they have spread the word widely. A record breaking online seminar recently gathered 35,000 people from 40 countries. Hamilton helps people to access, what he calls, their “Evolutionary Self” ( Essence Self, Pearl of Great Price, Authentic Self in other traditions). I have listened to his teachings and find him well grounded in spiritual principles, clear and practical in his practices and offering a non-traditional realistic approach to moving from Ego to Essence. His website Integral Enlightenment offers free literature, practices, videos and meditations.
There are many other programs available that are working along the same lines. This is not about angels, helpers, gurus, dogma or anything outside ourselves. All the teachings revolve around the amazing fact that the evolutionary power lies within each of us. It comes through us as a creative flow that wants to move into higher levels of joy, love and other beautiful qualities. This force is not available to us if we aren’t aware of its existence. It seems to me that the explosion of consciousness around this teaching is part of evolutionary transformation itself.
Much of what is happening in spiritual awakening is being confirmed in new findings in neuroscience. One of my participants recently showed us an article in a popular science magazine that shows how something happens to our brain that shifts energy from front to the back of the brain where empathy, compassion and other positive qualities are activated. Monks who meditate extensively also have a thicker connection between certain parts of the brain which is thought to prevent loss of neurons associated with alzheimers. A quick Google search of neuroscience and meditation will give well over 2 million responses.
Perhaps these discoveries are renewing interest in understanding what “consciousness” actually is. Scientists have avoided this topic for years. Latest discoveries admit that consciousness may be emergent. This means it arises out of the organic structure of human beings. A big step in the direction of coming to an understanding of this special aspect of what it means to be human. The new word “emergent” is something to keep your eye on. There is a video about this below.
The bottom line is – “You are IT!” But this is not an ego trip – in fact far from it. It is a call to recognizing who we, as human beings are at our deepest / highest level. This means that it is up to each of us to listen to the inner call, to follow the urge to develop and become a shooting sprout of evolutionary flow in action. But the new emphasis is on connecting and creating together – each person having a clear access to their deeper wisdom and creativity. Without this kind of anchoring, activism or innovation can miss the mark.
It is exciting and humbling to be in the midst of this time of flowering.
Photos by Janice Leach Franco